Interview with Arno Nienhuis

Just before the outbreak of the corona crisis, Arno Nienhuis started as Director Benelux at LinkedIn. In his first year, the work situation all throughout the world changed enormously. We spoke to Arno Nienhuis about LinkedIn as an organization, the role of the company in the culture of learning, about workforce developments in the Netherlands and how your organization can deal with this.

The many faces of LinkedIn

As a social platform, LinkedIn has been an indispensable value in the world of work and business for years. The platform now has 756 million members, and in the Netherlands alone, more than 8 million professionals are active on LinkedIn. About 16,000 LinkedIn employees work daily on services and functionalities for members. The B2B side of the platform focuses, among other things, on providing insights to companies and organizations all over the world, with which they shape their workforce strategy. But the range of learning programs for employees and sales and recruitment solutions is also growing strongly.

“Our mission is to create economic opportunities for everyone in the world who has or is looking for work,” says Nienhuis, who started in his current position more than a month prior to the first Dutch lockdown. “When people come together on LinkedIn, it can quickly lead to new opportunities. From a new job to a new customer or a new supplier. Digital developments have accelerated enormously in the past year. Our way of working together and doing business with each other has changed forever. LinkedIn has made itself especially indispensable last year by helping professionals and organizations worldwide to continue doing business. It also offers opportunities to capitalize on employment opportunities, regardless of the sector, location or level. ”

Data for users and the business community

Due to the enormous size and global scope of LinkedIn, the organization has an enormous amount of data. Nienhuis: “We use all the insights about the labor market that the platform gives us to support the business community. For example, the LinkedIn Economic Graph provides a picture of the supply and demand of jobs. We analyze trends in the skills that the business community demands. In this way we gain insight into the skills that people need to be able to perform certain functions. We transform this knowledge into added value for the members, in order to subsequently create opportunities for them. They can master these much-requested skills with e-learning. This brings us back to our mission: to create economic opportunities. ”

The role of LinkedIn in Learning & Development

The corona crisis posed major challenges for employers. First of all, because in a day remote working became the norm. It soon became apparent that the changed reality also had a great impact on employees. “Investing in people has always been important, of course, but the crisis flawlessly revealed that people are often the most powerful, but also the most vulnerable assets of organizations. As never before, boards and managers saw how valuable employees are and how important it is to continuously invest in them. In terms of skills, but also when it comes to wellbeing. It is therefore logical that there was an enormous interest in learning and development programs. ”

LinkedIn decided to respond to this need and extend a helping hand to both businesses and employees. “With the help of our data, we mapped out which skills the new reality required. And then we made more than 1000 learnings in these areas available for free.” LinkedIn, together with Microsoft and ITPH Academy, developed a program that offers free learnings for the ten most in-demand professions. In the past year in particular, this program proved more relevant than ever: more than 600,000 Dutch people followed these learning paths and many of them earned a certificate. “People are embracing the opportunities and preparing for jobs in the top ten most in-demand professions.”

For Nienhuis it feels logical that LinkedIn continuously invests in creating development programs and learnings. “Continuous learning is part of our corporate culture. Every employee is working on this for a number of hours every week and immerses themselves in new things. From soft skills to new technologies, the possibilities are endless. I advise every organization to continuously invest in the knowledge and skills of employees. Not only to keep up as an organization, but also to continue to fascinate and motivate people. ”

The Dutch workforce developments

LinkedIn analyzes developments in the workplace and the labor market on a monthly basis. In the Netherlands, there is a great demand for customer-facing professions, for example positions in sales and healthcare. Software development is also a focus area, there is a great demand for personnel in this industry. These trends are in line with global developments.

Matchmaking from companies

Where training used to be decisive in the search for new employees, Nienhuis predicts that skills will become more important than diplomas. With the help of LinkedIn Insights, companies search very specifically for employees. The recently launched Skill Path program makes it possible to make an assessment based on a profile that helps to place the right people in the right place. It also contributes if employees have to be retrained or given a different place in the organization. “Organizations are on the move. The labor market is changing. We can be a connecting factor and help both employees and organizations to successfully go through the inevitable transformation. ”

Skills based hiring pilot

After a successful pilot in which people were hired at a company based on skills, LinkedIn has started the initiative to hire employees in this way. “A number of American multinationals, such as Walmart, have already adopted this and are now recruiting based on skills.” In the Netherlands, almost half (48%) of the jobs in 2020 were filled by employees transferring to a new industry or position. Recruitment based on skills, and not based on education or experience, also gives recruiters the opportunity to work on diversity and equality in an organization.

De uitdagingen voor de Nederlandse bestuurder

According to Nienhuis, it is the soft skills in particular that have become extremely important in the past year. “Think of creativity and empathy. It is an interesting time for administrators and managers who have these skills. Organizations need genuine, top-down involvement to understand what is really going on at all levels of the company. Smart tools in the field of employer management also help to keep in touch with the organization. And that in turn is essential to be able to connect talent to the organization. More than ever, it is not the managements but the talents in a company that will determine whether it can remain successful and profitable in the long term. ”

Contact information


Do you wish to be informed about our upcoming sessions? Subscribe to our monthly agenda!